Mobile broadband subscriptions grew 45 percent to reach 1.7 billion, between the first quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013, according to Ericsson estimates.
About 50 percent of all mobile phones sold in the first quarter of 2013 were smartphones, resulting in a doubling of mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2013, also says.
Video traffic on mobile networks and is expected to grow by around 60 percent annually up until the end of 2018, by which point it is forecast to account for around half of total global traffic.
Video traffic is likely to represent the majority of all mobile data traffic by 2018.
Music streaming and audio are expected to grow with a annual growth rate of around 50 percent. Smartphone users who subscribe to both music and video streaming services already consume more than 2 GB of data traffic per month on average, more than four times the consumption of an average smart phone user.
Web browsing and social networking will each constitute around 10 percent of the total data traffic volume in 2018.
During 2013, overall mobile data traffic is expected to continue the trend of doubling each year, Ericsson predicts, driven in most regions except North America by mobile-connected PCs.
Traffic per subscriber is affected by the screen size of the user’s individual device and screen resolution.
On average, a mobile PC generates approximately five times more traffic than a smart phone.
By the end of 2012, an average mobile PC generated approximately 2.5 GB per month, versus 450 MB per month produced by the average smartphone.
By the end of 2018, an average a mobile PC will generate around 11 GB per month and a smart phone around 2 GB.